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Three Cd'A schools placed on safety hold Thursday

by CRAIG NORTHRUP
Staff Writer | December 18, 2020 1:00 AM

A pair of incidents prompted two Coeur d’Alene elementary schools and a middle school to implement temporary safety holds Thursday afternoon.

Bryan Elementary and Lakes Middle schools were placed on safety holds after reports of an armed man walking down a nearby street.

Coeur d’Alene Police officers arrived on the campuses during the safety holds — which restrict travel in and out of the building — as law enforcement searched the neighborhood. No armed man was discovered, and police could not confirm whether there even was one.

“The police let us know when there’s something going on in the neighborhood that elevates the potential risk,” said Scott Maben, Coeur d’Alene School District spokesman. “A safety hold is really used to secure the building from a potential threat that might emerge. That could be an unauthorized person on school grounds, a stranger who looks out of place or someone banging on the doors."

At 12:41 p.m., Lakes was placed on a safety hold. At 12:51 p.m., Bryan Elementary followed suit. By 1:15 p.m., both holds were lifted. Maben said students often wouldn’t even notice them.

“Generally, activities continue as usual," he said. "Classroom doors are shut and locked. Hallways are kept clear.”

Fernan STEM Academy went into a brief safety hold, as well. An unrelated incident between Kootenai County Sheriff’s deputies and an individual prompted a brief chase in the Fernan Village neighborhood, triggering the safety hold at 1:26 p.m. Within five minutes, that hold was lifted.

Maben said the rolling nature of safety holds gives the task of protecting students tools to adapt, should situations escalate to a point that requires a full lockdown, which usually involves perceived threats inside the building or on school campuses.

“The advantage of a safety hold is,” he said, “if you do need to roll into a lockdown, you’re already halfway there.”